SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- What’s the best way to put out a fire? You deprive it of air.
That approach to crisis management has served the Patriots very well on myriad occasions through the years.
And that promises to be the same approach the team will employ when it comes to the charges of soliciting prostitutes in Florida that are being leveled at Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
“Bill [Belichick] talks about it all the time when distractions or different things come up,” Jason McCourty said Sunday during an interview at the InterContinental San Juan where the McCourty twins are staying during a goodwill trip to the island. “He says, ‘Whoever’s dealing with it, you allow them to deal with it.’
“There’s no comment than we can make on somebody else’s situation that’s going to help it,” McCourty added. “It doesn’t do anything. If another guy is dealing with a situation you can just say, ‘I’m talking to him, communicating with him, wishing him well and hoping everything works out.’ There’s nothing I can do to help that person. Looking at it through that lens helps to minimize it in your world because you have your own responsibilities and priorities to take care of.”
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All the Belichick mantras — Do Your Job, Ignore the Noise, Control What You Can Control — apply.
Since this instance involves the man who signs their checks rather than someone they share a huddle with, the impact on the players is arguably less tangible than, say, the suspension of Josh Gordon.
It’s not that Kraft isn’t an important figure to the players. He is, as Devin McCourty stated Friday. And if the case continues, there will be points at which it’s very much in the news.
Imagine the circus if Kraft is suspended by the league for the start of the 2019 season and the Patriots’ prime-time season opener and Super Bowl banner unfurling takes place with the owner in exile? That will be a topic, to say the least.
But not one the players will be expansive on.
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“The team does a good job of separating football and a personal side,” said Devin McCourty. “You spoke of the [Aaron] Hernandez situation. There wasn’t a guy in that locker room that wasn’t affected. Nobody was saying, ‘I don’t care.’ But you have to understand that when it’s time to go to work you have to go to work.
“I think that’s how the team’s always been,” Devin continued. “Whether it’s the Deflategate nonsense or when Tom [Brady] got suspended in 2016 or Julian [Edelman] this year, those can be seen as distractions. But when the time comes to work, we just work. We don’t care who’s there, who’s not there, what we have to do differently, we kind of treat it as if an injury’s happened. You don’t know who’s gonna be there from one week to the next. And even though in your personal time you might reach out and do what you can, when it’s time to come in and play football, that’s our focus.
“We have goals of the day, goals for the year and guys understand that that’s what they need to focus on so they keep their job and so we can have as much success as we can.”
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